California’s Legislative Black Caucus holds leadership program for high school students

Austin Gage | California Black Media

(CBM) – After a 3-year hiatus, the 12-member California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) held its African American Leaders for Tomorrow Program (AALT) on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills CSUDH.

From July 20-23, CLBC brought together high school students from across California for a series of workshops and social events aimed at preparing the next generation of leaders in African-American communities in fields such as business, government and nonprofit advocacy.

According to the CLBC website, the main goal of the program “is to ‘build a bench’ of young leaders who will lead California in addressing issues of protecting voters’ rights, improving access to higher education and vocational training through dual enrollment, reducing poverty rates, increasing paid employment, participating in the evolution of criminal justice, improving the quality and equity of health care and reduce high infant mortality rates in low socio-economic communities.

Sixty high school students whose applications were selected to participate in the program benefited from an immersion experience on campus. They lived in the CSUDH dormitories and ate in the common campus dining hall.

State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and CLBC President welcomed the students to the program and reiterated the reasoning for the program’s existence.

“I learned a long time ago that your education is the most important investment you make in yourself,” Bradford said, “We hope our students will learn and grow through this opportunity. with skills and knowledge they find useful in their educational and future endeavors.Our commitment is to prepare the next generation of African American leaders for whatever the future holds.

CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham and California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber also welcomed the students. Los Angeles mayoral candidate and congresswoman Karen Bass, who represents California’s 37th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, and actress and comedian Kim Whitley provided video messages to the students.

Actress and dancer Debbie Allen and retired professional basketball player Norm Nixon gave the program’s dinner keynote address to the students.

Six major workshops were held where students interacted with CLBC members and experienced professionals from companies such as The Education Trust-West, Snap Inc. and JS Held. Workshop topics were Civic Engagement, Dual Enrollment, STEM/Tech as a Career, Leadership Development, Financial Education, and Academic Knowledge.

Professors from CSUDH and the Mervyn Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute also played key roles in delivering the program. Parham along with Dr. Justin Gammage and other members of the university lectured to students on topics such as mental wellness and self-care in addition to workshops and panels. On the final day of the program, students participated in a mock hearing on AB3121, the bill that created California’s Reparations Task Force.

CLBC Assembly members Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) and Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City) helped wrap up the program and presented certificates of recognition to program participants.

CLBC Assembly Member Akilah Weber (D- San Diego) said, “For three days, high school students can stay on a college campus and immerse themselves in a unique learning environment that will prepare them for a successful transition to higher education. , job search, budgeting and leadership.

The AALT serves as a culture ground for young people and helps them understand what they might want to focus on for their future career. Another CLBC member on the program, Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), shared Weber’s view.

“The African American Leaders of Tomorrow program was created to prepare today’s youth for careers in

exposing them to the legislative process, encouraging critical thinking and helping them discover their passions,” Holden said.

Kevin E. Boling